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IIJS Virtual to debut in October, promises to be the finest



When everything real is meeting with a shake of the head, IIJS Virtual, the digital edition of Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council’s (GJEPC) flagship show, is coming up with a virtual exhibition in October. Originally scheduled for August, the show is generating quite a buzz in industry circles, with initial exhibitors’ and retail participant interests exceeding expectations despite the postponement.

The jewellery sector has seen its fair share of cancellations — of events, trade shows and exhibitions. Weddings, a major profit-earner for the industry, have been postponed, so sales have taken a hit. However, GJEPC persevered. With the situation slowly lifting its face towards the sun, many have shown a keen interest in the virtual show, which expects approximately 500 exhibitors and 10,000 buyers on the online platform. The virtual event will have five halls, each dedicated to gold jewellery, diamond and coloured stone jewellery, couture and bridal jewellery, loose gemstones and pearls, and silver costume jewellery.


“Retailers can expect a smooth navigation across categories as the virtual show is based on an extremely high-end technology and simulates real-time interaction of buyers and sellers at the physical show,” says Shailesh Sangani, convener of GJEPC exhibitions.

With technology adapting itself in leaps and bounds, the platform will be seamlessly integrated with its physical aspects. It is expected to have digital architecture to help exhibitors with their one-on-one meets with buyers. The more appealing aspects will be 2D and 3D stalls, dashboards for buyers and sellers, and a meeting interface with live product-profiling. GJEPC will also conduct seminars during the show.  Exhibitors have been given a pick of three stall categories — super premium, premium and standard.

Entry is free and anyone can browse through an exhibitor’s product listing, even days before the show’s opening. Visitors can also add products to their wish-lists and pre-schedule meetings according to the exhibitor’s calendar.

To safeguard the sellers’ interests and assuage their apprehensions, steps have been taken to introduce safety features which give complete control of design access to the seller.  “There are various enhanced features to protect the designs of sellers from getting copied and viewed. The access control for wider design variety rests with the buyer as only 25 designs will be showcased to the retailer at the initial stage. A buyer will only be allowed into a booth with the seller’s consent,” said Sangani.

The visitors will be able to start scheduling their appointments from the 4th– 10th of October. The meeting timing will be suggested by the buyer but finalised only after the consent of the seller. Moreover, no meeting will exceed an hour, and one can have eight meetings in a day.

Colin Shah, the chairman of GJEPC, was overwhelmed with the response. “IIJS Virtual will be an opportunity for our exhibitors and buyers to connect, talk business and place orders from the comfort of their offices or homes,” he said. Shah is optimistic that the festive and wedding demands will pick up. The council, thus, went at breakneck speed to organise the event. “We have got an enthusiastic response to the initial launch and have already received registrations from 1500 retailers,” he added.

“IIJS is one of the most coveted annual shows that helps trade stay connected. This year, the pandemic has forced us to put our plans on hold. But, out of every adversity, emerges an opportunity. We are now gearing up to conduct the virtual show,” said Vipul Shah, vice-chairman of GJEPC. He emphasized that connecting in an era of social distance was easy now, thanks to the digital revolution.

Sangani said that the jewellery sector is a die-hard breed and comebacks are always stronger than setbacks. “The pandemic has impacted businesses, but the Council, as always, leads the way. IIJS Virtual promises to replicate a life-like experience. It will have features like appointment scheduler, live chats, product catalogues, meeting rooms, seminars, and more.”

He added that the pandemic enabled the sector to reinvent and find new ways of collaboration. The show is expecting visitors from Asian and European countries. In terms of business, it expects to hit 25-40% of transactions that would come from a physical presence.

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